A play looking at fame and how desperate people are to seek it gets its world premiere in Sheffield next week.
The Life & Loves of a Nobody was written by Rachael Walton, the artistic director of city theatre company Third Angel, who also plays the part of Rachael.
Rachael said: “We wanted to look at the idea of fame and celebrity and someone who’s in love with the idea of being famous.
“We were inspired by the huge amount of reality TV we’ve got at the moment.
“I was watching They Shoot Horses, Don’t They, a film about dance marathons in the 1930s Depression where people tried to dance for days to win prizes.
“It’s incredible how excruciating it is to watch. It’s not dissimilar to watching X Factor and how desperate contestants are to get into the judges’ houses.
“The play is asking the question about what we are willing to watch and how far do we want that form of entertainment to go?”
She added: “If you are a normal working class person, how do you become famous? We’re talking about fame rather than celebrity, someone who is famous for something they do that is not forgotten quickly, once they’ve had their 15 minutes of fame.”
During their research, the team became fascinated with the story of the early 19th-century clown Joseph Grimaldi and some of the epic shows of his time.
Rachael said that the whole of the back of the famous London theatre Sadler’s Wells was taken off and horse racing took place, with the course going on to the stage.
The show was hugely popular and only ended because the neighbours got fed up with people clambering up on their fences to get a free view.
Another time the entire stage was flooded so that battleships could be sailed on it in a show about Napoleon.
Shows routinely went on for five to six hours because elaborate scene changes took so long. Audience members would take a picnic or drift in and out at different times, said Rachael.
She said: “We wanted to create small spectacles using some of those ideas.”
Rachael, who was born in Nether Edge Hospital and spent some of her early years in Manor Park, says she is proud that Third Angel spreads the name and reputation of Sheffield all over the world. The company celebrates its 20th anniversary next year.
The Life & Loves of a Nobody premieres at the Crucible Studio from next Tuesday to Saturday. Tickets can be purchased from Sheffield Theatres’ Box Office in person, by phone on 0114 249 6000 or online at sheffieldtheatres.co.uk.